Caribbean-style Beans and Rice
This recipe has some prep-time, between the long simmering and soaking the beans overnight, but it is worth it. I've made the kosher-friendly version, and even sans ham it still has a great taste -- though I'd recommend using a couple drops of liquid smoke to more closely match the flavor of the original.
- 4 slices smoked bacon, if kosher, substitute with beef boullion cube
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 5 cups water
- 1 scotch bonnet, halved and seeded. May substitute with 2 serrano chilies (also halved and seeded).
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 14 ounces (1 can) coconut milk
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 1/2 cups long grain rice, washed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper, (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Heat a Dutch oven or large, deep pot over medium-high heat. You may add 1/4 cup of olive oil for enhanced flavor, though the cooked fat from the next step should be enough.
- Add the bacon to the hot pot and cook until light brown on both sides.
- Add the garlic and saute until light brown. Only saute for about a minute to avoid burning.
- Add the drained beans along with the cold water to the bacon and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low.
- Cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until beans are just tender, about 1 hour. I recommend tasting it, and if the beans aren't tender, add 15 minutes, and taste again.
- After an hour, add the chili peppers, cinnamon, coconut milk, scallions, thyme, allspice, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the rice and, once the mixture has returned to a boil, stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid.
- Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Remove the thyme sprigs and Scotch bonnet pepper halves and serve.